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Top 10 wines in the US press

Sancerre Les Baronnes Henri Bourgeois, Loire, France

This “crisp and beautiful” Sancerre from the Loire was recommended by Michele Parente writing in the San Diegeo Tribune.

“A few years ago, The Wall Street Journal called Sancerre “wine’s Tom Hanks,” because everyone loves it”, she wrote. “o me, it’s more like the Goldilocks of Sauvignon Blancs — not as soft as many California bottlings, not as sharp as a typical one from New Zealand.”

Of this example, she said: “The 2014 Les Baronnes from prestigious Sancerre producer Henri Bourgeoise is a perfect balance of fruit and minerality, with classic aromas of fresh-cut grass and green apple and citrus flavors and lively acidity in the mouth. Herbaceous, with a lemony zing, it’s a versatile crowd pleaser that goes well with goat cheese and types of fish.

“Play your own Goldilocks parlor game by comparing a Sancerre with a Napa fumé blanc and New Zealand sauvignon blanc from Marlborough and see which is just right for you.”

Price: $19.95 to $23.99

Selvapiana Chianti Rufina DOCG 2012

“Selvapiana Chianti Rufina is not only a mouthful to pronounce but lots of robust flavors to ingest”, admitted Sandra Silfven of this Italian red, writing for Detroit News.

It is produced by the sister-brother team of Silvia and Federico Giuntini Masseti, who manage the property that dates back almost 200 years.

Offering her thoughts, Silfven said: “This robust Old World-style Chianti offers beefy, full-bodied flavors and tannins for an amazingly affordable price. It’s an earthy Sangiovese with aromas of cherry and dark berries infused with smoky cedar followed by flavors of black cherry, wild berry, plum and espresso coffee bean wrapped in supple tannins and supported by firm acidity. Pair it with grilled meats or bold-flavored cheeses.”

Price: $18

Masi Agricola Costasera Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2010

Keeping with an Italian theme, Silfven also recommended this Amarone della Valpolicella Classico from Masi, which has been making wine in the Veneto region of north east Italy for 250 years.

“The appassimento method is used to dry the ripe grapes on mats for three to four months to further concentrate their flavors before fermentation”, explained Silfven. “The grapes shrink in the process meaning more grapes than usual are required to make this wine. While “passito” wines are usually sweet, this famous wine is vinified dry.”

Of its flavour profile, she said: “This inky, concentrated essence coats the mouth with fruit, tannins and alcohol. It has flavors of baked plum and cherry, cassis and notes of brown baking spices streaked with cedar and spice. The alcohol is 15% so watch it: It may get you nodding into your rack of lamb. It’s one of Italy’s great Amarones.”

Price: $63

Langtry, 2014 Lillie Vineyard, Guenoc Valley Sauvignon Blanc, California, US

Peg Melnik, writing for the Press Democrat, picked this Sauvignon Blanc from the Guenoc Valley AVA in Lake County on California’s north coast as her wine of the week.

“The Langtry is Lake County Sauvignon Blanc at its best”, she declared. “It has a base note of passion fruit, but it’s also edgy. It’s grassy, but not overly so, and it has notes of grapefruit, lime and mineral. Refreshing. Vibrant. Lovely.”

Price: $25

Petrolo, Toscana IGT, Inarno 2012

“The 2012 Inarno is the inaugural vintage from the Petrolo estate in Tuscany”, explained Rebecca Murphy of this Italian red from Tuscany, writing for Dallas News.

“It is a traditional style, unoaked, 100% Sangiovese”, she said. “The fruit is bright, red cherry and strawberry with hints of dried herbs beginning to show cedary, cigar-box aromas with three years in the bottle. It’s medium bodied and lively on the palate, with citrusy acidity and well-integrated tannins. That acidity makes it a great companion for tomato-based sauces on pasta or pizzas.”

Price: $19.99

Simi Reserve Chardonnay 2013, Russian River Valley, California

“Simi produces outstanding wine from five estate vineyards and from other vineyards throughout Sonoma County”, said Dennis Sodomka of Simi in the Augusta Chronicle. 

“While so many of their wines are excellent, the Reserve Chardonnay is really something special, a stunning wine”, he added. “It is a light straw yellow in the glass, with powerful aromas of lime zest, green apples and stone fruit, with some floral notes. Melon and Granny Smith apple flavors mix with vanilla and smoke. The smooth finish has a touch of minerality.

“The mouthfeel is lush, rich and full of complex flavors that keep unfolding as the wine opens. Chill the wine before serving, but let it warm up for 10-15 minutes before drinking, to allow the flavors to release.”

Price: $25-27

Field Recordings, Cabernet Franc Hinterland Vineyard 2014, Paso Robles, California

Dave McIntyre, writing in the Washington Post, shone a light on California’s Paso Robles region which he said has “earned a reputation in recent years for its Rhône Valley varieties” such as Viognier, Roussanne and the “trendy” Grenache Blanc, as well as Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.

“Wines from Paso Robles are not shy”, he said. “The best of them combine richness and power with elegance and sleekness.”

He described this Cabernet France from Hinterland Vineyard as a “beautiful wine” that is “supple and complex with rich blackberry fruit and some minerally graphite, tea and olive flavors.”

Price: $22

Tablas Creek Vineyard, Patelin de Tablas Blanc 2013/2014, Paso Robles, California

McIntyre also recommended this white from Tablas Creek, a winery he said was “responsible for promoting Grenache Blanc, which has become a trendy grape among California’s ‘Rhône Rangers’.”

“It dominates this blend, backed up by Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne”, he said. “Think white flowers, talc and chalky minerals.”

Price: $22

Old Soul 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Ridge Winery, Lodi, California

Stacey Vreeken, writing in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, recommended Oak Ridge Winery’s 2013 Old Soul, which she described as “an affordable, versatile wine”, that matches well with food, “especially meats from the grill”.

“The wine is made from mature vines that concentrate flavors and express character”, she added. “It’s soft tannins and the addition of a bit of full-bodied zinfandel make it a slightly sweet, easy-drinking wine.”

Price: $14

The James 2013 Pinot Noir, Three Sticks Wines, Santa Rita Hills, Sonoma County, California

Finally Rebekah Bell, writing for the, recommended Three Sticks Wines’ The James 2013 Pinot Noir, which she said was “redolent of cherries, cranberries, and huckleberries” striking the “perfect balance of sweetness and structure”.

“The ripe Central Valley fruit contributes complexity and earthiness to the palate, and an acidic finish”, she said. “The 2013 vintage will pair well with fatty meats, such as salmon and beef short ribs.”

Price: $60

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